This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Jesus and the torture debate

Thanks to David for the link.
Reposted from
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2009/04/jesus_and_torture.cfm

blankOVER at Beliefnet, Steven Waldman wonders why John Ashcroft, the former attorney general and a devout Christian, never made a moral argument against torture. "We have no reports of him airing the Christian case against torture", says Mr Waldman, assuming that Mr Ashcroft made a "utilitarian calculation" in acquiescing to the policy. He bemoans the fact that "what Ashcroft never did, apparently, was ask: What Would Jesus Do?"

Thank god for that. Unlike Mr Waldman, I'm not comfortable with our attorney general basing his official actions on the hypothetical leanings of Jesus Christ. Sure, there was a Christian argument to be made against torture, but the nation's top law-enforcement official had a much more solid basis on which to mount any opposition: the law. What Mr Ashcroft never did, apparently, was ask: What would a law-abiding administration do? In his position, that should've trumped any wisdom he derived from Jesus's example.

Mr Waldman goes on to ask, "What is the value of having a religious person in office" if they're not going to bring their religious beliefs into the decision-making process? Religion is often the basis for a person's morality, but the tone of Mr Waldman's column grates on my nerves. Many people sat in on the administration's discussions about torture. There was no greater burden on Mr Ashcroft, as a devout Christian, to present the moral argument against this policy than there was on anyone else in the room. To suggest as much is to wrongfully assume that devout Christians have superior morals to people who are less religious-minded.

TAGGED: ABUSE, MORALITY, RELIGION


RELATED CONTENT

The rebranding of circumcision as...

Brendan O'Neill - The Telegraph Comments

The rebranding of circumcision as 'child abuse' echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe

German court rules religious...

- - MedicalXpress Comments

German court rules religious circumcision on boys an assault

Jehovah’s Witnesses Told to Pay in...

AP - New York Times Comments

Jehovah's Witness organization found responsible for paying 40% of damages awarded to abuse victim

Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for...

Sharon Otterman & Ray Rivera - The... 46 Comments

Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

Protest against the “Punch your gay...

Justin Griffith - Freethought Blogs -... 67 Comments

Police say 500 expected at our Protest of the pastor who said to 'punch your gay kids' [time sensitive]

Q&A for Sean Faircloth "Can Religion...

- - RichardDawkins.net 2 Comments

Q&A for Sean Faircloth "Can Religion Justify Bullying Children"

MORE

MORE BY ECONOMIST.COM

Believe it or not

Economist.com 45 Comments

The meaning of freedom

Economist.com 16 Comments

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment